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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Microsoft Reportedly Closing Halo Wars Developer Ensemble Studios / [新闻]微软宣判"光环战争"开发商解散

Much of the staff reported to have already been laid off.
A Gamasutra story and separate report on Shacknews both indicate that Microsoft has put in motion a plan to close Ensemble Studios. While we've not received an official comment as yet from Microsoft, the rumored events bear an eerie similarity to what transpired with FASA Studio last year as it approached the release of Shadowrun. Both stories cite multiple independent sources indicating that Ensemble will be shutting down following the release of Halo Wars, currently slated for sometime in early 2009.
According to the sources, Ensemble staff who aren't at work on Halo Wars were laid off this morning. Meanwhile the Halo Wars team has been, "offered incentives to stay on the project until completion." While that may ensure the game's release, Ensemble had a strong tradition for post release support and expansion packs for its Age of Empires games. Without their leadership the longer term future for Halo Wars becomes much more uncertain.
We've reached out to both Microsoft and Ensemble for comment but have yet to receive any word back at this time.

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